Todos, na verdade, são tentados a comparar a crise atual com a de 1929, que por sua vez deslanchou a crise bancária de 1931 e precipitou o mundo na grande depressão dos anos 1930.
Os dois autores deste artigo, aliás interessante, acreditam que a atual crise bancária europeia poderia levar para a ruptura da democracia na região, o que não só é totalmente falso, como francamente ridículo.
Enfim, eles têm direito de fazerem as analogias que desejam, mas existem regras para isso, e devemos comparar o que é comparável.
Ora, a Europa atual, e o capitalismo de nossos dias, assim como o papel dos Estados, e dos bancos centrais, são totalmente diferentes do que tínhamos nos anos 1920 e 30.
Em todo caso, vale a leitura, se deixarmos de lado esses alertas totalmente desprovidos de fundamento.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida
The Perils of Ignoring HistoryThis Time, Europe Really Is on the Brink
- The article you are reading originally appeared in German in issue 24/2012 (June 11, 2012) of DER SPIEGEL.
- The deposit insurance scheme has to be funded by appropriate bank levies: This could be a financial transaction tax or, better, a levy on all bank liabilities -- both deposits and other debt claims.
- To limit the potential losses for euro-zone taxpayers, there needs to be a bank resolution scheme in which unsecured creditors of banks -- both junior and senior -- would take a hit before taxpayer money is used to cover bank losses.
- Measures to limit the size of banks to avoid the too-big-to-fail problem need to be undertaken. In the case of Bankia, the merger of seven smaller caixas merely created a bank that was too big to fail.
- We also favor an EU-wide system of supervision and regulation. If the euro-zone taxpayer backstops the capital and deposits of euro-zone banks, then supervision and regulation cannot remain at the national level, where political distortions lead to less than optimal oversight of banks.
- Fiscal austerity policies should not be excessively front-loaded while structural reforms that accelerate productivity growth should be sped up.
- Economic growth needs to be jump-started in the euro zone. Without growth, the social and political backlash against austerity will be overwhelming. Repaying debt cannot be sustainable without growth.
- The policies to achieve this include further monetary easing by the ECB, a weaker euro, some fiscal stimulus in the core, more bottleneck-reducing and supply-stimulating infrastructure spending in the periphery (preferably with some kind of "golden rule" for public investment), and wage increases above productivity in the core to boost income and consumption.
Finally, given the unsustainably high public debts and borrowing costs of certain member states, we see no alternative to some kind of debt mutualization.
There are currently a number of different proposals for euro bonds. Among them, the German Council of Economic Experts' proposal for a European Redemption Fund (ERF) is to be preferred -- not because it is the optimal one but rather because it is the only one that can assuage German concerns about taking on too much credit risk.
The ERF is a temporary program that does not lead to permanent euro bonds. It is supported by appropriate collateral and seniority for the fund and has strong conditionality. The main risk is that any proposal that is acceptable to Germany would imply such a loss of national fiscal policy sovereignty that it would be unacceptable to the euro-zone periphery, particularly Italy and Spain.
Giving up some sovereignty is inevitable. However, becoming subject to a "neo-colonial" submission of one's fiscal policy to Germany -- as a senior periphery leader put it to us at a recent meeting of the Nicolas Berggruen Institute (NBI) in Rome -- is not acceptable.
Until recently, the German position has been relentlessly negative on all such proposals. German officials have repeatedly opposed the direct recapitalization of troubled banks. Chancellor Merkel has consistently ruled out euro bonds. Some German spokesmen have made it sound as if they actually want a Greek exit from the euro zone. Others have been over-eager to impose the same fiscal regime on Spain as has already been imposed on Portugal.
We understand German concerns about moral hazard. Putting German taxpayers' money on the line will be hard to justify if meaningful reforms do not materialize on the periphery. But such reforms are bound to take time. Structural reform of the German labor market was hardly an overnight success. By contrast, the European banking crisis is a financial hazard that could escalate in a matter of days.
We have tried to come up with proposals that address German anxieties. But we want to emphasize that action is urgently needed. Germans must understand that bank recapitalization, European deposit insurance and debt mutualization are not optional. They are essential steps to avoid an irreversible disintegration of Europe's monetary union. If Germans are still not convinced, they must understand that the costs of a breakup of the euro zone would be astronomically high -- for themselves as much as for anyone.
After all, Germany's current prosperity is in large measure a consequence of monetary union. The euro has given German exporters a far more competitive exchange rate than the old deutsche mark would have. And the rest of the euro zone remains the destination for 42 percent of German exports. Plunging half of that market into a new Depression can hardly be good for Germany.
Ultimately, as Chancellor Merkel herself acknowledged last week, monetary union always implied further integration into a fiscal and political union.
But before Europe gets anywhere near taking this historical step, it must first of all show that it has learned the lessons of the past. The EU was created to avoid repeating the disasters of the 1930s. It is time Europe's leaders -- and especially Germany's -- understood how perilously close they are to doing just that.